Lesbians and Sexual Assault NATIONAL RESOURCES
Lesbians are in most ways no different from other Gay and Lesbian National Hotline
sexual assault survivors, but they have their own (888) THE-GLNH (843-4564)
special needs and issues. www.glnh.org Lesbian Survivors of Sexual
The lesbian survivor may experience PTSD (Post National Center for Lesbian Rights Assault
Traumatic Stress Disorder) and other typical symp- (415) 392-6257
toms of sexual assault or childhood sexual abuse (415) 392-8442 (fax)
just as any other sexual assault survivor might expe- www.nclrights.org
rience these symptoms. She may experience anger,
depression, sleeplessness, nightmares, flashbacks, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
sleeping disorders, uncontrollable crying, eating (202) 332-6483
disorders, increased drug or alcohol use or other (202) 332-0207 (fax)
common symptoms of sexual assault. www.ngltf.org
The rapist can be anyone - a family member, a STATE RESOURCES
friend, a date, a partner, a co-worker, a neighbor, a Join TAASA in the campaign against sexual assault.
stranger. If a woman is raped specifically because Montrose Counseling Center, Inc.
she is a lesbian, this is not only rape, but a hate 701 Richmond Avenue
crime as well. Houston, TX 77006
It is important for counselors, loved ones and family www.montrosecounselingcenter.org
members to be supportive and realize that just as all
women are not alike, not all lesbians are alike, and Gay and Lesbian Switchboard Houston
that each person is an individual in her own right (713) 529-3211
and should be respected for those qualities. www.gayswitchboardhouston.org
Texas Association Against Sexual Assault
7701 North Lamar, Ste 104
Austin, TX 78752
Is She Angry or Depressed? Fears About Disclosure Myths About Lesbian Sexual Assault
Anger and depression are two of the Many victims of sexual assault are fearful Myths are beliefs which may be culturally
common feelings which women exhibit about reporting or disclosing the assault. For accepted without any basis in truth.
as a result of sexual assault or child sexual the lesbian survivor, there may be additional
fears as well: MYTH Because only ‘straight women'
abuse. It is not "crazy" or unusual to be
are sexually assaulted, lesbians don't
angry or sad about an event which was have to worry about it.
w She may fear that those around her will be
perceived to be traumatic and life
judgmental towards her orientation as well
threatening. as the sexual assault itself. FACT: Anyone, whether male,
female, adult, or child, can be sexually
w Anger is a natural reaction to the violation of w If she has not "come out," she may be fearful assaulted.
sexual assault. For the lesbian, part of her of exposure to family, friends, co-workers or
anger or depression may also stem from the a hostile culture. MYTH When abuse occurs within the
very real cultural oppression of lesbians. lesbian relationship, the abuser will
w She may fear the loss of her support system. always be butch, bigger and stronger.
w A same-sex partner may be able to identify The victim will always be feminine,
with the victim's feelings more than a w She may be afraid that her sexual orientation smaller and weaker.
heterosexual partner would and may will be perceived to be the crux of the
experience similar post-traumatic symptoms. problem rather than the assault itself. FACT: This stereotypes lesbians.
The victim's sense of sadness and anger may When there is abuse present, either
increase if she feels deprived of her partner's w The lesbian community is small. She might party is capable of perpetrating it.
emotional support just when she needs it the be afraid that everyone will find out about
most. her assault. MYTH Lesbians secretly want to
have sex with men and set it up so that
w When the perpetrator is a lover, she may feel w She may be afraid that she will be discrimi- they can have sex without others find-
doubly victimized by someone who was nated against by those in the criminal justice ing out.
supposed to be even more understanding of system, who may not be as sympathetic to a
her. victim who is also a lesbian. FACT: No one wants or asks to be
w Lesbians have to face w In addition to the special concerns related to
not only a sexist culture, how others may perceive her sexual MYTH Lesbians provoke sexual
but a homophobic one orientation, the lesbian survivor will likely assault by flaunting their orientation.
as well. A woman of have all the common fears that any survivor
color who is also a might have: fear of being stalked, for FACT: Only the perpetrator is
lesbian may have to face responsible for his/her criminal
example, or fear of retribution.
the additional burden of actions. This is a victim-blaming state-
racism as well. ment.